The Luckiest Lady in London -- Sherry Thomas
Book 1 of London trilogy
I don't often read Historical Romances. The one and only Historical Romance I read had been a long time ago, back when I was in high school and considerably more pretentious about my reading preferences than I am today. I had an English teacher who regarded Historical Romance novels (and Romance novels, in general), as uninspiring and trashy--she was a beloved teacher and I found myself going with a lot of things she said. However, in an effort to prove to my friends that I wasn't also prejudiced about my reading preferences, I borrowed a book from a friend, something by Jill Barnett, I believe, and gave it a go, with some reserves.
I can't say I gave it a fair trial though since, at the time, I read mostly textbook classics, human drama, a lot of Michael Crichton and books in the science or crime thriller genre. I ended up being very uninterested in that book, though, and couldn't quite get into it. I don't remember which book it was I had read, but I just recall that I never touched another Historical Romance since and adopted my English teacher's view on Romance novels.
Of course, times have changed and my biggest outlook on reading is simply this: Read what you like. Read what you enjoy. And over the years I've come to like reading a variety of books, including Romance novels and especially Romantic Suspense. Contemporary Romances are also books I may pick up randomly as well.
But Historical genres were still never a preference for me.
The main reason I even chose to put The Luckiest Lady in London on my reading list was because several trusted reviewers/bloggers I follow hyped about it. I then went on to read at least two or three other books that had a historical setting and quite liked them. Other more interesting sounding Historical Romances and Historical Mysteries also made their way onto my list.
And then The Elemental Trilogy happened and decided for me that Sherry Thomas would become an author to look out for.
The Luckiest Lady in London has been a highly anticipated book for myself due to positive reviews and the fact that there were elements listed within these reviews that piqued my interest. And then the book ended up on sale via Kindle and somehow made it into my library. As a means to expand my reading experience, I consciously chose to put the book on a pre-chosen Reading Challenge list.
So here we are.
And I'm glad that I made time for The Luckiest Lady in London. So very glad.
The story of The Luckiest Lady in London is actually a fairly standard Cinderella-esque story. Lord Felix Rivendale is our wealthy and highly respected Marquess of Wrenworth. Louisa Cantwell, while coming from a respectable family of well-to-do station, is in fact on the poorer end of things with several sisters to take care of, including one with epileptic episodes, youngest sister Matilda. If her mother were to pass away any time in the future, all of the Cantwell sisters would be left without a penny or any assets to their names--in other words, they will either end up homeless and begging or they will have to figure out how to sustain their lifestyles by finding work.
Or another option would be to marry into a wealthy union.
While Louisa admits that she and her sisters would likely be able to get by if they all found jobs, she realizes that the best way to support her sisters is to marry well. So off she goes to London to present herself in the finest way possible in order to draw the attention of any eligible, well-to-do man who would also be willing to take care of Matilda as well. But, of course, she comes across Lord Wrenworth who's attention she manages to catch almost immediately, but who would most likely be the worst candidate for a husband since he is more inclined to NOT settle down and get married for a long time to come.
While the story itself was pretty clichéd and started off quite slow, I was ecstatic to find that the book's best quality happened to be the characters. Sure, we get a standard rich man-poor girl romance. Sure, we get a rocky start with the "Lust at First Sight" plot device and an almost instalove development. We even have an arrogant hero who always gets what he wants, shows people a sunny, gentlemanly side of himself (being known as "The Ideal Gentleman"), who has childhood issues to propel his present-day behavior. Which also happens to become a cause for romantic angst in the long run.
But the characters gradually grow on you, and eventually, I stopped caring that some of the events and plot twists where predictable. I even didn't even really concern myself with the mundane, banality of the day-to-day progress of the book's story line. I fell in love with our main couple.
It's not every day that you get a romance wherein the female main character openly expresses her carnal desires, or who has an ambitious, scheming mind in order to achieve her goals. And while Felix tends toward the carbon-copy standard Romance novel main male character, he does have an extremely charming air about him that makes it hard not to like him.
The entirety of the first 30% of this book was a hot and heavy courting ritual riddled with innuendo that felt like sexual foreplay--and the main character barely touch each other during this time--but things were hot, nonetheless. The duration of the couple's relationship, the development, and even the obligatory misunderstanding and ensuing angst wasn't really anything to write home about, honestly.
But the interactions between Louisa and Felix, the witty bantering, the few quips and one-liner conversations had between the two of them were absolutely amazing. In the end, it had been our characters, and even some of the side characters that really drew my attention.
Sherry Thomas has a knack for writing readily lovable characters (as I found with her Young Adult series, The Elemental Trilogy). Even with a standard fairy-tale-like love story such as The Luckiest Lady in London, her characters are still layered in complexity and unpredictable behavior and actions.
This was a wonderful and fun book to read, simple as that.
This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):